Depth Psychology (or Depth Psychotherapy) is the term given to an approach to psychotherapy that works with the many layers of the human psyche, illuminating the intricate connections between our inner landscapes and the outer world. As an Art Psychotherapist in private practice, I am dedicated to supporting individuals on their journeys of self-discovery and healing, drawing upon the wisdom offered by forms of psychotherapy such as Jungian psychology and aspects of Psychoanalytic thought, as well as spirituality, myth and story, art, and creativity in a broad sense. I have been a student of these areas since before my therapy training, and continue to research and actively engage with them in my own life.
Depth psychology tells us that our conscious minds only scratch the surface of who we truly are. Beneath the veneer of everyday life lies a rich tapestry of unconscious thoughts, feelings, and experiences that shape our perceptions and behaviors in ways we often cannot fully comprehend. By exploring these aspects of ourselves, we can gain profound insights into our past, present, and future, uncovering patterns, symbols, and archetypes that influence our lives. In therapy we consider reaching insight to be a useful step, but it needs to be integrated in a way that can be experienced. This might happen through the therapeutic relationship between us, or by you taking what you have discovered and actively working with it in your day to day life outside of the therapy session. We could say that for healing change to occur, insight needs to find embodyment.
At the heart of depth psychology lies the understanding that we are not merely physical beings, but also possess an immaterial essence often referred to as the Soul. Depth psychology embraces the belief that our souls hold the key to our authentic selves, our purpose, and our wholeness. It recognises that the challenges we face in life are not solely external or surface-level, but often reflect deeper inner conflicts, wounds, and aspirations of the soul. I think it is important to emphasise that when we think about Soul, it might sound a little 'far out' to some, but it is very much about being in the world. I appreciate how James Hillman (a Jungian Analyst who founded Archetypal Psychology) thinks of soul as displaying particular qualities by which its presence is recognised. We have a sense of what is meant when the word is used in describing soul music, soul food, or anything as being 'soulful'. Conversely, there is something commonly understood when a person, building, organisation, job, song etc, is described as 'soulless'. We somehow know what soul is when are in its presence, and feel bereft when it is absent.
Within this soul-oriented approach to psychotherapy, spirituality and religion are seen as integral to our well-being and self-discovery. Recognizing that spirituality is a deeply personal and diverse experience, I honor and support individuals on their spiritual paths, regardless of their specific beliefs or affiliations. By integrating spirituality into the therapeutic process, we create a space for exploring the soul's connection to something greater than ourselves, fostering a sense of meaning, purpose, and service.
Myth and story, with its timeless narratives and archetypal characters, holds profound wisdom for soul-oriented work. These offer symbolic maps that can help guide us through the complexities of life, by reflecting universal themes and patterns that may resonate with our own personal journeys. By engaging with mythic stories and archetypal figures, we gain insights into our own struggles, aspirations, and transformative potentials, deepening our understanding of the soul's longing for wholeness and individuation.
Art and images serve as potent allies, which engage us in a different way to verbal and written language. Art-making becomes an act of soulful exploration, a means to express our authentic selves, and engage with the mysteries of our inner worlds. It can provide a beneficial means of healing, and integrating fragmented aspects of ourselves.